Forward Nick Bjugstad has been out of the lineup since November 30th after apparently suffering an injury during practice that day as the team prepared to face the St. Louis Blues the following day. While Bjugstad’s official status is still unknown, Cats on the Prowl has learned that he may have been suffering from migraines and could potentially have a concussion.
Aside from saying he has an “upper-body injury,” the team has been very quiet with regards to Nick Bjugstad and even beat writers Harvey Fialkov and George Richards don’t seem to know what’s wrong with the young forward. Gerard Gallant told the media recently that Bjugstad’s injury was not related to his back which was an initial concern of many since he underwent season-ending back surgery in March. Bjugstad left practice and was sent home on November 30th, but no one reported seeing anything happen to him during that time. Also, considering he played the entire game against the Red Wings on November 29th, an actual injury doesn’t seem to be immediately apparent.
Richards and Fialkov have said that Bjugstad isn’t suffering from a concussion and that the team doesn’t know what’s wrong with him which admittedly sounds a little odd. Fialkov said on November 25th that there was a Panthers player that had a concussion last season but it was kept completely quiet by the team, and the same thing could be happening with Bjugstad. He went on to say that this info is generally kept away from the media (league-wide, not just limited to the Panthers doing this) so as to not affect a player’s value once he hits free agency, however Bjugstad is in the first year of a 6-year deal so free-agency isn’t really something of concern right now.
A source told us that Bjugstad has been having migraines and could possibly have a concussion, and it wouldn’t be the first time for him. Bjugstad also sustained a concussion on September 8, 2013 at the Panthers pre-season rookie camp tournament and didn’t make his season debut until over a month later on October 15th. Although it’s been 2 years since that concussion, it’s possible that he can still be suffering from migraines and/or regular headaches as a result of it. Bjugstad is on the injured reserve and the team says he is out “indefinitely.” He has 7 goals and 5 assists in 23 games played this year.
Steven Kampfer is also on the injured reserve after suffering a leg injury on 12/10 against the Capitals, and we’ve been told that he’s having difficulties fully straightening his leg. Although it’s unclear which leg is the problem for Kampfer, he’s experienced a number of knee injuries in his career thus far. In addition to injuring his left knee in the Panthers final game of the season last year against the Devils, Kampfer also injured his knee in 2011 with the Providence Bruins of the AHL and then again less than a year later with the Minnesota Wild.